Annie’s Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese Review

Annie's Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese

Today didn’t go the way we were expecting it to.

See, we’ve been aware of Annie’s line of frozen mac and cheese for a while now, but we’re having trouble finding it in town (such is life in a COVID-19 pandemic world). We really wanted to review a frozen mac and cheese today, but our best attempts were thwarted.

So we decided to do the next best thing. While we’re waiting for the frozen stuff to show up on store shelves, we’ll try some of the boxed stuff — the Annie’s Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese. That will allow us to compare the frozen stuff to the boxed stuff later on.

So yes, today we’re reviewing a boxed mac and cheese that’s totally not frozen. We apologize if you were hoping for a frozen meal review today (but, to be fair, we’ve got more than 1,600 frozen food reviews on the site currently — there’s plenty to read here at Freezer Meal Frenzy if you’re looking for frozen food!)

If this were a frozen mac and cheese, we’d just stick it into the microwave and call it good. Since this is a boxed macaroni, though, we have to go through all the steps of boiling the water and whatnot. It’s a pretty basic process, familiar to anyone who’s cooked a boxed macaroni before. But if you want to know the full rundown, you can check out the package scans at the bottom of this review.

Annie's Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese

Because the cheese is squeezed out of a packet rather than made from a powder, this does end up a bit creamier than, say, your typical box of Kraft macaroni. It has a slick, slippery consistency to it rather than a grainy one.

As far as flavor, this is closer to the Velveeta side of the spectrum than the gourmet side. This is a slightly generic-tasting sharp cheddar cheese sauce (well, this is supposedly a four-cheese blend — featuring cheddar, asiago, parmesan, and Monterrey jack — but it really just tastes like cheddar to us). It’s nothing special, but it’s a cut about the basic Kraft offering.

The pasta here comes in shell shapes, and we found that to be absolutely delightful. Shells are our favorite pasta shape for mac and cheese, by far. Leave your elbows and your spirals at home — we’ll take the shells!

Now, these are a bit smaller and thinner than you’re average shell. That’s not a complaint; it’s just an observation.

According to the box, 1/3 of the contents are a serving. We split this between two staffers, and we found that to be a pretty good serving size. This stuff is pretty filling, and we can’t imagine that someone would eat the entire box in a sitting.

If you stick with the 1/3 box benchmark, you’ll be consuming 340 calories and 810 mg of sodium. If you go with our half-box serving, you’re up to 510 calories and 1,215 mg of sodium. Geez, we should have probably read the box before we ate this!

The Annie’s Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese is no gourmet macaroni. Still, it’s a pretty decent one for fans of boxed mac and cheese. This does remind us of the Velveeta Shells & Cheese, though we think we prefer Annie’s over Velveeta.

To learn more about the nutrition content, ingredients, or cooking instructions for this totally-not-frozen mac and cheese, check out our package scans below.

Annie's Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese
Annie's Deluxe Rich & Creamy Shells & Four Cheese Macaroni & Cheese